International opera star and winner of the 2012 Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Solo, Kansas-born Mezzo Soprano Joyce DiDonato entrances audiences and critics alike across the globe, and has been proclaimed ‘perhaps the most potent female opera singer of her generation’ by The New Yorker. DiDonato has soared to the top of international opera as both a performer and a fierce arts advocate, gaining international prominence in operas by Rossini, Handel and Mozart, as well as through her wide-ranging, acclaimed discography. Her signature parts include the bel canto roles of Rossini, leading the Financial Times to declare her Elena La Donna del Lago, ‘simply the best singing I’ve heard in years’.
Joyce was born in Prairie Village, Kansas the sixth of seven children in a close-knit Irish-American family. She sang in choir and musicals in high school. At Wichita State University she studied vocal music education, initially more interested in teaching high school vocal music and musical theatre and did not become interested in opera until she saw a PBS televised broadcast of Don Giovanni. After graduating from WSU DiDonato pursued graduate studies in vocal performance at the Academy of Vocal Arts followed by the Houston Grand Opera's young artist program.
She began her professional career in 1998 singing with several regional opera companies in the United States, but it was her debut as Rosina in the Paris Opera’s Barber of Seville that launched her career internationally. Much in demand on the concert and recital circuit, DiDonato has held residencies at both Carnegie Hall and the Barbican Centre in London. Her Grammy-Award-winning recording Diva Divo comprises arias by male and female characters, celebrating the rich dramatic world of the mezzo-soprano. A retrospective of her first ten years of recordings entitled ReJoyce! was released last year. Other honors include the Gramophone Artist of the Year and Recital of the Year awards, a German Echo Klassik Award as Female Singer of the Year, and an induction into the Gramophone Hall of Fame.
Equally endearing and enduring, however, is her commitment to her craft and her willingness to impart it to the next generation of singers. Generous with her time and her wisdom, she has done numerous masterclasses throughout the United States in recent years. This is indicative of her open spirit and the Kansas work ethic she uses to approach all her endeavors.